Tea exports up 23% in March; 17% in 1Q to Rs. 41 b

Saturday, 7 May 2011 00:07 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The tea industry is enjoying good times in exports, with March producing 23% growth, bringing the cumulative first quarter increase to 17%.

Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers said total exports in March was Rs. 14.8 billion, up by 23% or Rs. 2.8 billion from Rs. 12 billion in 2010 March.

In the first quarter, exports rose by 17% to Rs. 41 billion. Forbes said tea in bags and tea in packets together with green tea have shown a significant gain year on year during the first quarter.


Volume wise exports in March were 27.6 m/kgs showing a gain of 3.6 m/kgs vis-a-vis 24.04 m/kgs of 2010. Cumulative exports for the period Jan-Mar 2011 totalling 77.4 m/kgs show a gain of 7.2 m/kgs vis-à-vis 70.2 m/kgs of 2010.

Largest importers of Sri Lankan tea remained CIS, followed by Iran and UAE.

Forbes said CIS and Iran have shown a significant growth in imports year on year whilst purchases by UAE had dipped. Turkey, Iraq, Japan and Syria were the other destinations where year on year volumes have shown a growth. “However, a concerning factor is Libyan imports for the cumulative period show a significant decline,” Forbes said.

Meanwhile, tea production in March rose 57.9% from a year earlier due to a low base effect after bad weather hit production in the same month last year.

Tea output in March jumped to 33.2 million kg against 21.1 million in the same month last year. Output in the first quarter edged up 3% to 76.24 million kg from 74.02 million in the same period last year.

“Last year in March we had some weather effects on the production,” H.D. Hemarathne, Director General of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, told Reuters.

He said production had recovered despite heavy rains in first two months of this year, thanks to better weather in March.

Hemarathne expects full-year tea output to be in line with 2010 tea production, which rose 13.1 per cent to a record 329.4 million kg.

The Tea Board hopes revenue from Sri Lanka’s No. 1 agricultural export crop will rise to a record high of more than $ 1.5 billion this year, from $ 1.4 billion in 2010.

Sri Lanka’s annual earnings from tea exports rose 16.1 per cent last year and 28.3 per cent in January, the Central Bank’s latest data showed.

Tea is one of the $ 50 billion economy’s main foreign currency earners, along with remittances, garment exports and tourism.